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Airport chaos eases as fog lifts

By Claire McNeilly

Hundreds of Ulster travellers stranded at UK airports were today hoping the better weather conditions will bode well for their Christmas flights home.

After two days of delays and cancellation chaos, weather forecasters this morning threw potential commuters a lifeline after predicting that things were looking up.

"Conditions on the ground in London are more favourable than they have been," Adam Kenny of Meteo Group UK said.

"The fog is not as thick. That means there may be delays, but hopefully planes will be able to take off."

Yesterday, Heathrow Airport - worst hit during the fog crisis - scotched 350 flights.

British Airways also cancelled 200 flights and today said it will not be operating any domestic services in or out of Heathrow.

And although BA continued to operate long-haul services in and out of Heathrow, some people were forced to wait for several hours at each end.

Heathrow's second busiest airline, bmi, also scrapped more than 40 flights at the west London airport yesterday.

The mood among passengers at George Best City Airport, which bore the brunt of Heath- row's virtual standstill yesterday, was rather more optimistic.

This morning, the first two flights coming in from Heathrow arrived on time and the first outgoing airplane departed as planned.

But while most other incoming flights are so far running to schedule, Birmingham and London Stansted arrivals are registering delays of one to two hours. Delays are also expected to affect certain departures.

Meanwhile, at Belfast International - which yesterday saw only one Cardiff cancellation and some domestic delays - there are no apparent problems.

"Everything is coming and going on time, give or take 10 minutes" said Belfast International spokeswoman Deborah Matchett.

"There are no problems at all so far, but we are expecting today to be very, very busy.

Rosalind Rogers, from Derryboye, who is head of communications at the University of Ulster, was stranded in London on Wednesday night.

As she made her way to the airport this morning she said it would be a relief to get home.

"I will be relieved to finally be home for Christmas. It will be brilliant," she said.

Belfast Telegraph


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